Wired on iPad Gets an Update

How the App Store Helps Magazine Publishers

Hundreds of thousands of Wired fans downloaded the company’s premiere app from the Apple App Store on the iPad. My contacts at Conde Nast, the parent company of Wired explain the company likes the model of individual issues being purchased as it generates much more revenue for the company. Being in the magazine business myself I can understand why this is the case. Moreover when a typical magazine subscription can cost around $15 per year and this requires printing and mailing magazines which could cost a company $20-$50 per year, you can see why advertising revenue is so critical to keeping publishing companies. And of course this shows how publishing companies can lose money when the ad market is weak and finally it explains why the move to digital on the iPad where subscribers pay $4 a pop makes so much sense. Still, the company must realize the excitement around the first issue had faded – or they did market research – either way they dropped the price by a dollar between issues.

Now getting back to the App Store. I noticed yesterday that the App Store was informing me of a software update to the Wired app. This is what it said (click to enlarge):

I upgraded the app and noticed that the upgrade is a new app which is a master app which manages my subscriptions and requires me to redownload the first iPad issue which by the way is 505MB and can be paused and resumed easily. Actually if you switch apps the issue stops downloading – so don’t worry if you need to check an e-mail in the middle of the process.


Included in the download is a link to a 51MB free preview of the July 2010 edition. The full July edition is 337 MB and has a cover story on Google – specifically titled Sergey’s SEARCH. If you get a chance to use the free preview you get a sense for how Wired is becoming a model for how digital magazines should be produced online. And this is from a person – as I have said before who could never appreciate Wired in-print. I am though a big Nine Inch Nails fan – specifically Pretty Hate Machine – so an article about how lead singer Trent Reznor creates a new song was very interesting because embedded within were many music tracks with lyrics, vocals, melodies, etc which allowed me to virtually step into the studio.


In short, the iPad allows magazines to become truly multimedia-enabled and interactive. I am not sure if these benefits are not 100% doable on a PC or MAC but the reality is that on the iPad, multimedia seems far more integrated with text.

An upgrade to the Wired app between issues is you now have the ability to pinch and zoom on some pages. This is activated by a button in one of the lower corners of the page which once pressed allows you to zoom away. In one case this ability was added to a large flowchart which could help users determine the best smartphone to purchase. In another, you are presented with a medical bill of the future. By the way, a double-tap gets you out of this mode so you can turn the page.

Challenges with the new issue of the magazine still include my inability to determine which articles continue below the screen as opposed to the right. In addition, there is an ad for GoToMeeting by Citrix which has a button telling you there is a free download in the App Store. Pressing on the button does nothing – I hoped it would take me to the App Store.

In addition, I would love a search as the Nine Inch Nails article seemed to exist in the preview edition I downloaded but I couldn’t find it in either paid edition.

At $4, though this publication is worth a look and if you are a Wired fan, you should really love both of the new Apple-tablet optimized issues. Wired has set a high bar for digital publications on the iPad and I am looking forward to seeing the tablet publication design-wars commence.

In the update window above there is mention of a 360 degree panorama in the July issue. Here are some shots of that Fisker sports car panorama

Thumbnail image for fisker1.png

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